FEBRUARY 9, 1957
NEW YORK—It seems to me that the speech made by the French Minister on the Algerian question was one which showed a great advance in French thinking. There is no claim that Algeria should not be given freedom but the desire seems to be that the whole of N. Africa should be free but a part of the European area. This seems fairly logical. There is an evident anxiety on the part of France to keep closer ties with Algeria than with Tunis and Morocco because there are more French settlers in Algeria. I imagine also the search for oil is of distinct interest to France so she would like to feel that area was more integrated into France itself than either Morocco or Tunis but this is not mentioned in the discussions. If we can get peaceful agreements between France and the three N. African Arab countries it will be a distinct advantage and I hope negotiations will move quickly because an agreement there will have a distinct influence on the whole Near East.
There was a most interesting article by John Fisher in Harper's magazine on the kind of policy which he feels is evolving in Washington, not only in the administration but in the Congress towards many of the questions which now have been bedeviling the U.N. in the Near East. One point in his article interested me. He pointed out that Vice President Nixon was being built up to be the next candidate for President and that he would be named probably as head of the Operations Coordinating Board. This is a little known agency but potentially is one of the most powerful in our government. Supposedly it expedites and coordinates all departments in carrying out the policies framed by the National Security Council and accepted by the President. Herbert Hoover, Jr. was head of this agency but nobody heard much about its activities. Nixon, however, would speak with much greater weight because everyone would feel he represented the President and was chosen to have this power because the President felt he would be the next candidate for President. The news on Thursday that the President had decided to keep the Vice President more fully informed on government policies, because he should be abreast of every policy in case he is called upon to succeed the President at any time, bears out this suggestion made by John Fisher in Harpers and seems to indicate that the Republicans are not slow in making their plans for the future.
I am still hopeful that it will occur to many of the member nations in the U.N. that voting sanctions on Israel because she is a small nation before they get an agreement from Egypt on two such simple points as allowing the U.N. force to take over in the Gaza strip and the gulf of Aqaba, and getting a promise of an arrangement on the Suez Canal, is a dangerous proceeding. Giving in to Egypt because we fear possible action on the part of the Soviet Union is a sign of weakness on the part of the U.N. and I think we will not have the respect of the Arab nations until the U.N. shows it is confident of its own strength. The request of Israel to be assured of U.N. protection in the border areas is a reasonable request. Other nations may make equally reasonable requests and it would be too bad if the U.N. as a whole did not have the courage to look at these requests and act on them independently of possible political pressures.